November 19, 2015
There is a chance we have seen the last of Peyton Manning on the football field. Personally, I hope not. It would be a shame for one of the top five quarterbacks of all-time to go out like he looked on Sunday against Kansas City.
Manning was benched after a poor performance that was not helped by his latest injury, a torn plantar fascia in his foot. Father time has caught up with Manning as he was not having that great of a season prior to Sunday. The Broncos were only winning because of their defense, a defense that has been needed as Manning’s stats place him in the bottom half of the league’s quarterbacks.
Sunday, Manning looked battered and beaten. Kansas City picked him off four times, but it could have been six. The Broncos sat Manning down in the third quarter with the Chiefs leading 22-0. The Broncos had three first downs with Manning on the field. He finished 5 of 20 for 35 yards, four picks, two sacks and was replaced by Brock Osweiler, who did lead the Broncos to 13 points in a 29-13 loss.
It was by far Manning’s worst game as a pro on a day that should have been celebrated. Manning passed Brett Favre as the all-time leader in passing yards. But that was the lone highlight of the day. His passes fluttered all over the place.
His decisions were dreadful. The Chiefs seemed to be one step faster and one play ahead of Manning. How often have you had that thought regarding Manning?
I am not sure what shocked me more last week, Manning’s performance or Green Bay losing at home to the lowly Detroit Lions. In case you missed it, the Packers had not lost at home to the Lions since 1991. And they play each other once a season in Green Bay.
The Packers have lost three straight games and their offense looks lost, even with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. The Packers are now 6-3. If the playoffs started right now, they’d be a wild-card team. That’s hard to believe.
Speaking of hard to believe, the team ahead of the NFC North Standings is the 7-2 Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings won at improving Oakland on Sunday behind 203 yards on the ground by Adrian Peterson.
One has to believe the Dallas Cowboys are done. They lost their seventh consecutive game without Tony Romo, and appear to be in big trouble. But the Giants and Eagles both lost this week, which means Dallas still has hope. Barely. They need Romo back in the worst way and they will get him back this weekend.
Big Ben Roethlisberger
The legend of Big Ben grew on Sunday. How tough is Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger? He wasn’t even expected to play with a sprained left foot, but came off the bench when Landry Jones got hurt in the first quarter and led the Steelers to a 30-9 victory over the Browns. He was 22 of 33 for 379 for three touchdowns.
The legend of Seattle’s defense took a hit Sunday night. The 4-5 Seahawks gave up 39 points to visiting Arizona in their seven-point loss.
Let me close on the NFL with this commentary. I love the league but it is becoming more and more obvious that the league is currently a mess. At least 10 games this season have been swung by terrible referee calls or no-calls. This week the NFL apologized for costing the Baltimore Ravens a game due to referee error. These same referees do not know what a catch is anymore due to all the rules centering around what is or what is not a catch. Quarterback play in the league is getting worse and worse. Kickers are missing more field goals and extra points more now than in recent memory. We are seeing several games with 20+ penalties in them. There are more season-ending knee injuries than ever and you know, there are even more concussions. Off the field, we are still dealing with the deflated football story which pales in comparison with all the reports of domestic violence. I miss the NFL I had as a kid.
Tar Heels Are Hot
I have to admit, I did not see this coming. Not on the football field anyway. I truly believe the North Carolina Tar Heels have a great chance of beating top-ranked Clemson for the ACC Title.
The Heels’ winning streak continued last week as Marquise Williams accounted for four touchdowns and Ryan Switzer had a 78-yard punt return for a score, leading the Tar Heels’ dominating performance in a 59-21 win against Miami in Saturday’s home finale.
Williams ran for 101 yards and three touchdowns and threw for a TD for the Tar Heels who won their ninth straight to stay alone atop the Coastal Division and move within a victory of a berth in the league championship game.
Head coach Larry Fedora has done an amazing job rebuilding the North Carolina football program. UNC has scored a program-record 125 points in its last two games, and hasn’t committed a turnover in three straight games while notching seven takeaways in that span.
The Tar Heels can earn a date with top-ranked Clemson on Dec. 5 with a win in either of their last two games, road dates with Virginia Tech and rival North Carolina State.
The Tar Heels already have more wins than in any season since Mack Brown left to coach Texas in 1997. UNC is also 6-0 in the ACC for the first time since winning its last ACC crown in 1980. You know Fedora is having nightmares over what happened in Week 1 against South Carolina? The Tar Heels are rolling with nine straight wins, their longest in-season win streak since 1914.